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42nd Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Iolani Palace Features Special Performances by Halau Hula of Na Kumu Hula Robert Uluwehi Cazimero, Karl Veto Baker and Michael Lanakila Casupang

Posted on May 13, 2019 in Latest Department News

HONOLULU – I Mua E Na Pokii, Move Forward, O Youth. The 42nd annual Prince Lot Hula Festival takes place at the historic Iolani Palace on Saturday, July 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sunday, July 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Prince Lot Hula Festival is the largest non-competitive hula celebration in Hawaii. It honors Prince Lot Kapuaiwa, who helped reprise hula in the 1850s and reigned as Kamehameha V from 1863 to 1872.

The festival is free to attend thanks in large part to Hawaii’s visitors and tourism dollars. Hawaii Tourism is the presenting sponsor of the Prince Lot Hula Festival.

There will be special performances by award winning halau hula. On Saturday at 9:50 a.m., Kumu Hula Robert Cazimero and Halau Na Kamalei O Lililehua will perform. They return to the festival after a four-year absence.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., Halau I Ka Wekiu, led by Na Kumu Hula Karl Veto Baker and Michael Lanakila Casupang, will perform a special tribute to fire goddess Pele featuring 90 dancers.

“Hawaii Tourism is proud to support the kumu hula and olapa who carry the kuleana of hula and the Moanalua Gardens Foundation for providing an opportunity for them to share that hula,” HTA president and CEO Chris Tatum said.

Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF) is the festival’s producer.

“We are honored to have two of Hawaii’s finest halau hula participate this year and are looking forward to their stunning performances,” MGF executive director and president Alika Jamile said.

“We encourage the entire community to join us for the 42nd annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Iolani Palace to celebrate two days of hula on these sacred grounds, where our alii, including Prince Lot, lived and ruled.”

The Prince Lot Hula Festival was founded in 1978 by MGF as a gift to the community. It now attracts thousands of residents and visitors every year.

The opening ceremony on Saturday will include the Royal Order of Kamehameha, and presentation of MGF’s Malia Kau award to Kumu Hula Iris Naleialoha Napaepae-Kunewa of Hawaii Island. She is the last haumana of hula legend Lokalia Montgomery.

It will be followed by a program in her honor by hula sister Vicky Holt Takamine, Kumu Hula of Pua Alii Ilima.

Twenty-two halau hula will perform both kahiko (ancient) and auana (contemporary) hula over the festival weekend. Halau from every major Hawaiian island have been invited and their kumu have been encouraged to include dancers from their out-of-state branches.

On Sunday, as part of the opening program, MGF will honor chanter Kamuela Chun from Hilo with its Namakahelu Oli award.

The festival will also feature a Hawaiian themed craft fair, and cultural demonstrations.

Food and refreshments will be available for purchase throughout the day, along with limited edition t-shirts and souvenir kokua buttons. Proceeds from the merchandise sales will help cover some of the costs of the festival.

The event is open to the public. People are encouraged to bring their beach chairs and mats. No commercial photography is allowed.

Major sponsors and supporters include: Hawaii Tourism, the National Endowment for the Arts, State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Iolani Palace, Hawaiian Airlines, Matson Navigation, The Queen’s Medical Center, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Oahu Visitors Bureau, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, MidWeek, Olelo Community Media, and Urgent Care Hawaii.

Participating halau and a festival performance schedule will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit MGF’s website at or call 808.839.5334.

A non-profit organization founded in 1970, Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF) is committed to preserving and perpetuating the native culture and environment of Hawaii through education and stewardship of Kamananui (Moanalua) Valley and celebration of the Prince Lot Hula Festival at Iolani Palace. MGF depends upon grants and donations to cover festival costs.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is the State of Hawaii agency responsible for strategically managing its support of the tourism industry. Established in 1998 to support Hawaii’s leading industry and largest employer, HTA continually strives to help ensure tourism’s sustainability and the benefits it brings to residents and communities statewide.